Stybar solos to victory in Tirreno-Adriatico

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) made up for the disappointment of failing to defend his Strade Bianche title as he claimed an impressive solo win in the difficult second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Stybar was in a good position as Sky upped the pace and brought the early break back. Michal Golas and Salvatore Puccio strung things out and made the group explode to pieces. One of them was Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) who sat up early.

With 8km to go, Alberto Losada hit the deck and looked groggy as his teammate Marco Haller waited for him. That didn’t stop the Sky train which remained in control until BMC took over with 6km to go as Damiano Caruso surged forward with Greg Van Avermaet, Tejay van Garderen and Daniel Oss on his wheel. Meanwhile, Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) was a surprise victim to the fast pace.

With 5km to go, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) launched an attack but he was marked by Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r) and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Montaguti continued to ride on the front to keep Jan Bakelants in a good position until Androni took over with an Androni rider leading Francesco Gavazzi to the front.

Tinkoff and Dimension Data fought hard for the front positions, with Daniele Bennati and Reinardt van Rensburg even colliding. The South African won the battle and led the field when Androni sent Mirko Selvaggi off in an attack.

Selvaggi quickly got a nice advantage while Peter Kennaugh (Sky) took over the pace-setting in the 50-rider peloton. However, he was quickly passed when Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) attacked hard in the steepest section. However, Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep), Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff) and Boasson Hagen marked him closely.

Brambilla took a short turn but as no one was really committed the pace went down. That was the perfect opportunity for Stybar who used the hesitation to attack. He won the KOM sprint ahead of Davide Formolo (Cannondale) and Gatto. He quickly got a big gap before Formolo started to chase, trying to set Simon Clarke up for the sprint.

Stybar excelled in the technical finale and extended his lead. Gatto started to chase for Tinkoff but didn’t get any closer until Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) launched a strong attack with less than 1km to go. However, Stybar was already on the finishing straight and had plenty of time to celebrate his win. Nibali was caught just metres from the line before Peter Sagan easily beat Boasson Hagen in the sprint for second.

With a 1-second gap and 10 bonus seconds, Stybar takes the overall lead with a 9-second advantage over the BMC quartet of Van Avermaet, van Garderen, Caruso and Oss. He will try to defend his position in stage 3 which could be an opportunity for the sprinters. After a rolling start, a flat section leads to the only cactegorized climb whose summit comes 64.2km from the finish. There’s another uncategorized climb with around 40km to go and from there it is mainly slightly descending. However, the finishing straight is slightly uphill, meaning that the punchier guys may fancy their chances against the sprinters.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2016 – stage 2 results (Camaiore – Pomarance):

1 Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step)


2 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)


3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)


4 Simon Clarke (Cannondale)


5 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


6 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)


7 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)


8 Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)


9 Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)


10 Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step)  ,,


General classification after stage 2:

1 Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – QuickStep)


2 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)


3 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)


4 Damiano Caruso (BMC)


5 Daniel Oss (BMC)


6 Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – QuickStep)


7 Bob Jungels (Etixx – QuickStep)


8 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)


9 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)


10 Sebastian Reichenbach (FDJ)